“If most of the class doesn’t get it, it is our responsibility. If 25 percent of the class doesn’t get it, it is still our responsibility. And if one child doesn’t get it, it remains our responsibility. It’s not about teaching the same lesson over and over again, because that doesn’t work. We need to redesign our lessons keeping in mind what we have learned from our kids and letting that information guide our instruction.”
When doing my reading for one of my classes I came across this quote and I realized just how true it is. In high school and elementary school even, I had lots of teachers who “taught to the test” or taught the same thing year after year. If a student of theirs did not understand or could not comprehend what was being taught? They would move on. These are the teachers that made me lose my passion for learning. My mom often told me as a child that I would not perform to my capabilities because I did not like the teacher. She was right. I knew it and I believe my teachers knew it as well. If a teacher was boring and uninteresting so was I. I was withdrawn from the class and did not care about my grades. It was these teachers that made me not want to become one myself. I was always afraid that if I did, I would have students just like myself and that I would become one of those boring, “by the book” teachers.
But then there were the good teachers, the ones that made learning a fun, memorable experience. The ones that pushed my thinking to the limits and the ones that made me anxious to learn more and more every single day. These are the teachers I aspire to be like. Growing up with a mother as a teacher I found myself surrounded by them. Often were the times I would come home from school and there would be a patio full of my former teachers outside. Laughing, talking, and acting like real people. Quietly I would slink outside and sit in a chair off a little ways from them; I would actively listen to their conversations for hours. Oh what it was like to hear from the inside of a teachers mind! They talked about test scores, and lesson plans, and things they had to do to get ready for the next day, however they also talked about their students, and how they could help their students. These teachers took the time to mention one kid out of their class to their peers because he/she was struggling and they wanted new ideas of how to catch them up.
So this is what it was like to be a teacher. These memories stuck with me from the time I was a child until now. To be a great teacher you have to have great students, and to have great students you have to make great efforts. It is all one cycle we have to follow, but only the crazy ones push it as far as they possibly can to make sure they are making a difference.